2010 Bandundu Filair Let L-410 crash
A Let L-410, similar to the accident aircraft
|Date||25 August 2010|
|Summary||Loss of flight stability due to weight imbalance|
|Site||near Bandundu, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Aircraft type||Let L-410UVP-E20C|
|Flight origin||N'Dolo Airport|
The 2010 Bandundu Filair Let L-410 crash occurred on August 25, 2010, after a Filair aircraft crashed on approach to Bandundu Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 20 people. The cause of the accident was uncertain. Both fuel starvation and an escaped crocodile have been blamed for the accident.
The aircraft involved was a 1991-built Let L-410 Turbolet, registered 9Q-CCN, with construction number 912608. It normally carries up to 19 passengers. The aircraft involved was previously registered ES-LLB, and was operated by Airest, an Estonian airline, until 2007, and was stored until Filair bought it in 2009.
The aircraft was operating a passenger flight from N'Dolo Airport, Kinshasa to Bandundu Airport, Bandundu, Mai-Ndombe District. At 13:00 local time (12:00 UTC), the aircraft crashed into a house approximately 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) short of the runway at Bandundu. According to most sources, no one was injured on the ground. Of twenty-one people aboard the plane, one survived the crash. Local Radio Okapi reported that the aircraft ran out of fuel after being unable to land at Bandundu, but Filair later declared that 150 litres of kerosene were still on board, affirming that a technical problem had caused the crash. Daniel Philemotte, the Belgian airline owner, was at the controls of the aircraft himself. Most of the dead were Congolese. Soldiers of MONUC were the first to reach the crash site and reported that no explosion appeared to have occurred, supporting the original hypothesis of fuel scarcity.
The lone survivor of the crash claimed that a crocodile hidden in a duffel bag had escaped. The frightened passengers then moved towards the front of the aircraft away from the crocodile. This affected the aircraft weight and balance leading to a loss of control. The crocodile escaped as the plane approached its destination. The crocodile reportedly survived the crash but was killed by a blow from a machete.
Transportation vice-minister Laure Marie Kawanda Kayena stated that an investigation had been opened into the accident. According to a government spokesman, there has been no confirmation that fuel shortage caused the crash.
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